tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 1, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
did he know and when did he know questions continue to swirl around new jersey governor chris christie following new allegations surrounding the george washington bridge scandal. show me the money, is the super bowl really turning out to be the half billion dollar boon that was predicted? safe to drink? new concerns about the water in west virginia even though officials insist that danger from a chemical spill has long passed. ice dams, the trouble freezing temperatures are
causing on the waterways from the great lakes to the east coast. and aww, the puppies that will have their day in tomorrow's other super bowl. good evening, his state is about to host the super bowl but it is a sport of bare knuckles new jersey politics that has governor chris christie on the ropes tonight, facing a new allegation that he did indeed know all about a politically engineered traffic snarl on the george washington bridge, something he has strongly denied. the charge is being made by a lawyer representing a key figure in the controversy. so far it has not been backed up by any evidence. but with christie standing as a likely presidential contender the claim has quickly gained traction, and tonight christie is fighting back hard. nbc's kelly o'donnell has
covered it from the start and joins us from fort lee, new jersey. >> reporter: good evening, lester, this is a real balancing act for the governor with the public duties of hin the big game here while his team is more sharply pushing back tonight against those new allegations, trying to undercut them, send the word out to christie supporters about what happened here, saying these new claims come without evidence. despite being the host governor, today new jersey's chris christie did not appear to get the home field advantage. >> good afternoon, everybody. >> reporter: a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd in new york city's times square. >> we look forward to hosting everybody in this group that has got a ticket over in new jersey tomorrow. >> reporter: in what is supposed to be a celebrity-filled football party weekend? christie finds himself playing defense again. after a former christie ally, david wildstein who supervised
the lane closures last fall and then took the fifth in january showed hints that christie may know more about the traffic scandal. >> let me tell you everybody i was blind sided yesterday. >> reporter: while wildstein wrote evidence exists that he knew about the period during when the lanes were closed. the claim was made in a letter specifically demanding that wildstein's former employer, the port authority, pay his legal bills and while wildstein may look for a deal. >> if he gets what he is seeking here, that would be a very clear signal that the u.s. attorney believes there is something he has to offer. >> reporter: christie's office responded that while his lawyer backed up the claim he had no prior knowledge of the traffic mess and furthermore, denies while stein's other assertions.
it makes the claims intriguing. >> he claims that what is left exists, but what is left is the kind of evidence, who has that evidence and does it say anything about whether or not christie knew the motivation behind the lane closures. >> reporter: late today, they obtained a christie office memo being sent to supporters that it aggressively pushes back both against the new york times which reported the allegations, and then takes on wildstein's personal character, saying that david wildstein will do anything to save david wildstein. and while it uses personal anecdotes regarding his character, we tried to reach him but were unsuccessful. and also the number of people to produce subpoenas by monday's deadline have been given an extension by new jersey lawmaker, meaning it will take
more time before we get to know about what may be in the evidence that could support either the allegations by wildstein or the story that the governor maintains that he knew nothing about this. lester? all right, kelly, thank you, and as we noted super bowl xlviii is being played tomorrow in new jersey just across the river from us in new york city. businesses on both sides of the river are finding the big game is not turning out to be the big payday they counted on, nbc's ron mott has more from super bowl central. >> reporter: hey, lester, good evening, there is talk that the super bowl could bring half a billion dollars or more to new york city and new jersey, but tonight, reality has businesses questioning just how super the game is for the bottom line. the rutherfords traveled across country to root for their beloved seahawkss. and they're paying a pretty penny. do you have like a budget?
>> we'll spend more than ten grand, that includes super bowl tickets, which is a big chunk. >> reporter: a big chunk indeed, but as much monrey as the famil and others spend here, research suggests it will be far less than the $600 million generated for the region, historically generated between 120 million for host cities. >> those studies are very good at doing adding and multipling, but they don't do well at subtracking. >> reporter: the digit prices are flat, hotel rooms can still be had, with many still available. many are finding it tough to close a deal despite the crowds. >> it is not as lucrative as i thought it may have been. >> reporter: here at the hotel chandler, they're dressed for
the occasion. >> we'll have exactly the same people as last year. >> reporter: across the river where the game will be played, super bowl buzz has been the feed here at the restaurant. >> i don't want it to hurt me, that other people don't come in because they're afraid. >> reporter: afraid of overcrowding, the turnout could be affected because of fears on the cold, it is the first outdoor venue, with hotel restrictions and high fares. nonetheless, this family is sparing no expense for their super bowl expense, a $7,000 adventure. >> this is a once in a lifetime experience for my son and i, and we're looking forward to just spending it and paying for it later. >> reporter: tonight, super security is in place for the super bowl. law enforcement is not saying just what they're spending but it will be sure to have an impact on the bottom line. all right, thank you, ron,
and in the middle of the country they're getting hit with another snowstorm. hundreds of flights have been cancelled already and there are two more flights behind this one. weather channel's meteorologist mike seidel has more. >> reporter: hi there, from the navy pier here in chicago, and the snow is flying, so far they have had more this season, more than they shovelled in chicago the past two winters combined. and cold morning, 15 so far sub zero has led to ice on the waterways and in michigan. in detroit, a record, last month 39 inches, more fell today leading to crashes on area highways in the motor city. another storm on sunday brings more snow and ice in the dallas/ft. worth area, and from the d.c. area, one to three inches in philly and new york, then more storms in the midwest, a swath of storms from chicago,
to kc, and there will be mostly rains for the big city on wednesday, then more cold weather. >> and as we heard a moment ago, outdoor, first cold super bowl. what will it be like at kickoff in new jersey? >> reporter: lester, after all the worries of maybe a blizzard and icy cold weather, it will be warm, 50 for a high, kickoff temperature 41. so right now, super bowl 6 in new orleans, that will remain the coldest at 39. >> mike seidel, thank you very much. and state officials in california say the historic western drought is not a coming crisis, it's a current crisis and the impact is already being felt at farms and local businesses. and unless the weather shifts dramatically, it will only get worse, nbc, mike taibbe has more. >> reporter: here, the drum beat of bad news, the quickly
shrinking reservoirs, spelling disaster for more on this growing season. >> the industries as a whole will be affected, at least three years because of this situation that we're in right now today. >> reporter: he has been relying on county water for irrigation and has not been shut off yet. and has even cut off older, more thirsty less productive trees to save additional water. but all the elements of the drought are at historic extremes. january rain days, usually california's wettest month, zero, january wildfires, last january there were none, this year? 406. snowpack amount, a mere 12% of normal. >> nobody can remember anything like this being nothing like this has happened in over 100 years. >> reporter: and it is not just farmland that is at risk. unless there is a dramatic and unanticipated weather turn around, several counties say they will run out of drinking water in two months, in marin
county north of san francisco? >> we have asked customers to conserve. >> reporter: voluntary now, but that will change if the weather does not. the impact is spreading, a 25% price jump for locally grown food at some markets, a bait and tackle shop relying on water, hanging on for dear life. >> we're doing our rain dance and praying for rain. >> reporter: there have been rain and snow dances, catholic bishops have asked the faithful to pray for rain, and are trying to inspire extra rain or snow with the clouds. but the skies, for too long, in what is supposed to be the rainy season, have been a beautiful blue. >> this is the wrong time of year to be beautiful. >> reporter: with no relief on the horizon, mike taibbe, california. and in indonesia, a volcano erupted today with deadly results, officials say at least 14 people were killed when mount
sinabung erupted. it came a day after authorities allowed thousands of nearby villagers who had had been evacuated to return home. saying the volcano's activity was decreasing. it is now just five days until the competition begins a at the winter olympics in sochi, russia, amid concerns the athletes including the american team have been arriving and practicing at the venues where they will compete. just how ready are things? we get more from our chief foreign correspondent, richard engel in sochi. >> reporter: the mountains are ready, jagged, wild, and covered with snow, and watched by troops looking for any suspicious tracks. despite threats from terrorists, members of the american team today said they feel safe and are ready to compete. >> i feel safe, knock on wood, but it seems great. >> the mountains are amazing,
the facilities are great, everybody is really friendly, looking forward to the next month. >> reporter: down off the mountain, team usa short track speed skater j.r.selski was testing the ice. >> feeling really good about this, and loving the atmosphere and energy and strength. >> reporter: this has been a monumental project for sochi, recently, this olympic park was just swampy farmland, 2010, a mere outline, since then it has gone up quickly. but everything is not quite done, far from it. workmen have less than a week, some hotels just today were loading in furniture. and security, russia denies there is any threat. but you have to go through airport-style checks to board a train in sochi. the main olympic park is not actually in sochi, but in the town of adler about 40 minutes up the black sea coast.
and the view is probably not what you would expect at a winter olympic. the train better be nice, the olympic rails, tunnel and roads cost more than 9 billi$9 billio. the final tab for sochi will ring in $50 billion. so far, the athletes and tourists have been able to ignore the controversies. >> i feel so safe, just loving it. >> reporter: and getting excited for the winter olympics, split between the mountains and the sea. richard engel, nbc news, sochi. and a reminder the competition in sochi begins next thursday, february 6th. and so does olympic coverage right here on nbc. and when nbc nightly news continues this saturday, new fears about whether or not the water in west virginia is really safe to drink following the chemical spill several weeks ago. and later, what has become an irresistible alternative to and later, what has become an irresistible alternative to watching the
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charleston yesterday. and many people told me their lives have been fundamentally changed. the state says the water in west virginia is safe but that is being questioned and creating a lot of confusion and fear. life has not been the safe in the goldman house since the chemical mchm leaked into the virginia water supply from a tank at freedom industries three weeks ago. >> what is frustrating, there is no end in sight. >> reporter: for weeks, this family says the tap water smells like licorice, associated with the chemical. >> we have a new normal now, we have new ways of cooking and washing hands. >> reporter: the goldmans say they have been using bottled water and will continue to especially when tests found the levels of the chemical higher than standard, including at their oldest daughter's school. >> my big concern will be the health of my kids maybe in ten years. >> reporter: restaurants say they have lost business and many of them are now touting the fact
they cook with bottled water. >> on the other side? >> reporter: >> reporter: the state had stopped giving out bottled water but started again on friday. the doctor here is the commissioner for public health and she insists the water is safe. >> i am drinking it and cooking with it and bathing in it. my family is, as well. >> reporter: why are you passing out water if the water is safe to drink? >> we're doing it because we're listening to our constituents. okay? they just don't have confidence and so we are trying to tell them we hear you. we have confidence but we understand you don't yet. >> reporter: tierney also says the hcsm found at the schools is neglig negligible and they will work to flush out the supplies. they say they need to do a better job of informing the public. >> the state says we're like
elaborates in the sense that this is the first time this chemical has been exposed to humans at a large scale. >> reporter: pregnant women in particular have been told to refrain from drinking the water. for jennifer, who is due at any moment? >> it is pretty stressful. >> reporter: it is just another piece of conflicting information adding to her fears. >> but to think about bringing this one day, two day-old baby home and not knowing well, what are the real health effects? because there is just so much uncertainty, still. >> reporter: now, the state is aiming to have the school's water at safe standards by monday. part of the broader problem is that very little is known about mchm, or a second chemical that leaked into the water supply. we reached out to freedom industries several times but got for response. all right, thank you. and when we return, one of the big problems caused by the frigid january
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that make for some spectacular winter scenery, but as our kristen dahlgren reports they are causing some serious problems on the water ways in the world. >> reporter: on this coast guard cutter, this is one objective. >> we want to keep this channel clear so that maritime traffic can get through. >> reporter: these are not the icy waters of antarctica, these are the icy waters of philadelphia. >> it has been at least 20 years since we saw it this bad. >> reporter: so every day, the coast guard ice breakers are out, fighting to make sure the vital lanes stay open. >> it is necessary for the heating oil and groceries, all coming through the maritime channels, so if the river froze through, obviously, that affects thousands of people. >> reporter: this year, the extreme cold left hundreds of waterways iced over. in the hudson river it is almost a constant battle.
overhead, reconnaissance scouts for ice jams, while down below crews attempt to cut through. >> people don't realize if we're not out here these areas will not flow through new york, it just won't happen. >> reporter: on the great lakes, ice breakers are running day and night to keep things moving. when temperatures are at their coldest, the lakes freeze over as soon as the boats pass. meanwhile, back on the delaware, a dead end. >> this is about as far as we can go today. the ice here simply is too thick to get through. so their best bet is to break up the ice south of here so once it does freeze it will have someplace else to go. >> if it jams up there is a risk of flooding along the banks of the river up there. >> reporter: critical work. >> we're trying to make a dent in it and doing the best we can. >> reporter: to keep the waters flowing during an extraordinary winter that is far from over. kristen dahlgren, nbc news,
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predictors, they correctly predicted the baltimore ravens to win last year and also correctly predicted the boston red sox to win the world series. and if you have not had your fill of cute animals, the puppy bowl, our jill rappaport has more. >> reporter: super bowl sunday, the seahawks versus the broncos versus the puppies? even if your team did not make the big game you can still root for these furry fierce competitors. at this stage in manhattan, the puppies are primping for their play. and getting time. >> it is really more than just a mental massage. >> it is puppy porn, can i say that? >> you just did.
>> reporter: and that translates into some numbers, a record 12.4 million viewers watched the puppy bowl last year, with more expected to tune in tomorrow. >> we have had people tweeting that puppies are cuter than football players. oh, did i wake you up? these pups are mvps for more reasons than one, not only are they incredible eye candy but the fact they are all from shelters raises awareness from animals in need. puppy from the beginning is all about adoption. >> they were left to die and this gives the opportunities in front of millions. >> reporter: this couple came all the way from new orleans to adopt their puppy bowl superstar. >> when you get a puppy, when you rescue a dog it really changes the whole environment of your home. >> she is the aggressor. >> she really kicked some butt in the field, huh? >> yeah, she really did. >> reporter: so after the
accolades and touchdowns, these puppies really score by finding a new home. jill rappaport. >> now, how do you top that? you don't, that is nbc for this saturday evening, i'm lester holt reporting today, i'll see you tomorrow on "today" and we hope to see you right back here monday night. have a great evening, everybody. the pain started up the back of my head and wrapped around to the front. i couldn't play my bassoon because of the pressure that i felt throughout my whole head. the blistering and the rash was moving down towards my eye. the doctors at the emergency room recommended
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